Caged Element are a young development studio, formed at the end of 2014. Their first game is a homage, and spiritual successor, to the Rollcage series of games. This developer review looks at Caged Element, and offers a recommendation as to whether you should consider supporting them.
Reloaded Games are the second company to work on futuristic mech-shooter, HAWKEN. This developer review looks at the history of Reloaded Games and HAWEKEN, and then investigates whether you should consider supporting this development studio. The four ratings in this video are from A (excellent) to E (extremely poor).
Poppermost Productions is the development studio behind the (now) F2P game, SNOW. This extended review looks at the history of Poppermost, and whether you should consider spending money on this game.
Eleon Games are the studio behind the space survival game, Empyrion – Galactic Survival. This review looks at Eleon, how well they have handled the release of Empyrion and whether they are a studio you should consider supporting.
CAT Interstellar is an indie sci-fi game, set on Mars, and aims to tell story of a seemingly barren planet. The review looks at the developer behind CAT Interstellar, a small 2-man studio called Ionized Games.
Developer Rating: Negative
- Community: A
- Development Speed: D
- Development Clarity: D
- Developer Honesty: B
Although Ionized Games received a negative recommendation from the review, it was a close-run thing. If this team can increase it’s communication about the game, where it’s going and the milestones to get there, it could easily tip into a positive recommendation.
What’s your opinion? Do Ionized deserve a Positive recommendation based on their great community interaction, or should their lack of progress and information about what the final game will be override that?
Have an Early Access game you’re thinking of buying, and want some feedback on the developer before buying? Click this link to request a review.
Time was the main video content delivery site was YouTube. You could see the latest video from your favourite channels, at a time of your choosing, and see some pretty high quality stuff. For many years this was my main way of watching video content.
But over the last couple of years I’ve noticed a huge drop in my personal time on YouTube, and a subsequent increase in time watching Twitch streamers. Even traditional YouTubers, such as TotalBiscuit, can have 10,000+ people watching them when they stream. Right now I follow 144 different channels, and you can see some of my favourites at the bottom of this post.
In fact, and don’t hate me for this 😉 as I’m writing this post the CoD world league stream is on in the background with Machine and MoMo casting. It’s not necessarily the game that interests me, I quite like watching LoL for example and genuinely haven’t got a clue what’s going on, but the production quality and casting quality is excellent. Good casters are personalities in themselves, and can bring alive a game between two teams in a way that makes you invested in the game you’re watching. And next time you watch it because you’ve not got a team to cheer for.
It’s early on Sunday morning as I start to write this. Bacon’s sizzling in the pan, a cup of tea is brewing, the smells are floating through the apartment, and I’ve been going through some of my favourite forums and social media to catch up on what’s happening in the world after last night’s fantastic ASUS ROG winter invitational CS:GO tournament.
Over the years I’ve been involved in a lot of forums, from a user, admin and community manager perspective. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned it’s that an unregulated forum will very often become toxic. The BF3 alpha forum over on Battlelog had no admins when it launched. In fact I don’t think it even had the ability to have admins. That forum got to the point where it was totally pointless posting any kind of feedback, which defeated the point of having it in the first place.
More recently the H1Z1 Steam forums on release had very little moderation, and I spent a weekend watching with morbid fascination as that forum went to pieces very rapidly.
This is where strong, active, consistent forum moderation comes in. Either by a volunteer group of mods, or more preferably a dedicated community management team who have a direct link internally to someone who can answer their questions. Nature abhors a vacuum, and if there is no-one active on a forum who is knowledgeable and can answer questions, then answers will be made up by the community.
The community warfare forum over at MWOMercs.com is a classic example of this. It’s a F2P game, which by its definition relies on constant community interaction to ensure the survival of the studio. They rolled out a beta of a major new game component just before Christmas, but since then there has been practically no dev interaction with members discussing this new facet of the game on the forum. Almost since community warfare’s release there’s been a tension between organised groups and PUGs, but I cannot remember once when a dev stepped in and engaged the community in the discussion on the forums.
But that’s only half of the story. Ensuring the community is listened to, have their questions answered and receive pro-active information will hugely help community relations. Unfortunately though there will always be people who are there to troll, harass, cause problems or simply be jerks. This is where tough love is needed.
Your forum rules need to be clear, and need to be enforced, so that people who join and take part in your forum can do so without worry. Clarity is king, and consistency is key. On the Interstellar Marines forums we’ve always had one clear rule: you can be positive or negative towards our game, but you must be constructive. Saying you don’t like the game because of X, Y or Z is fine (even better if you give alternatives which you think would make the game better). But, “you’re all shit devs and I hope you get cancer and die faggots” will result in an immediate permanent ban with no hope of removal.
I genuinely think that some studios, or just individual admins, are simply too worried or scared about public opinion to enforce these kinds of rules. To me it’s common decency. Behind every computer is a human being, and we all deserve to be treated respectfully.
If you set the tone of your forum early and ensure as much as possible that people are fairly treated, you’ll see your community members start to back you up. They’ll become self-moderating, helping new members to enjoy the community and working with the development studio for the benefit of the game. It’s a win-win scenario for both sides, but is only earned at the cost of professional, fair, active and consistent moderation.
Oh, the tea and the bacon sandwiches? They were fab, thank you 😀